When Shane Schaffer last had a truck, he bought someone's custom ride and had very little to do with the buildup. Since he wasn't heavily involved with that first creation, he wanted to be sure he was deeply involved the second time around. Throughout the time he owned the first truck, he found many things that weren't up to par or to his liking. After spending more money than he would have liked to fixing the truck, he promised himself that if he were to do it all again, he'd build it from start to finish. Shane had been going to custom car and truck shows since he was a kid, tagging along with his parents, so his decision to build a custom mini-truck was a desire that'd been growing in the pit of his stomach from a very early age. He'd always wanted to get a smaller truck and make it incredible looking. If he could manage to get it on the cover of Mini Truckin', he could accomplish a dream.

By the time he got his hands on his '97 Nissan, Shane was also enrolled at Wyoming Technical Institute. He took the truck to school, and while he was learning how to build custom rides, the itch hit to start working on his Nissan. Since the school's staff was teaching him how to do a lot of what he wanted for his truck, this was the perfect opportunity to get crackin'. He managed to install his own four-link rear suspension, did his own step notch, boxed the frame, and built all the new crossmembers for the new air-ride suspension. Although Shane did quite a bit of the work he wanted to accomplish at school, there was still a whole lot more he wanted to do.

Once he graduated from WyoTech, he took the truck home, bought himself a welder, and began to finish the truck's suspension. He built so much of his own truck himself that even in the end, Shane spent far less than he would have if he'd had a few shops do all the work.

Back home in Liberal, Kansas, Shane finished off the suspension of the Nissan and made sure it worked perfectly before he started shaving and smoothing out the body. He'd learned just about all he needed to know at WyoTech, but there was one problem: No one would be as picky as he would be about his own truck. He took his time and did all the work to his own exacting specifications. Soon, his truck was smooth and very custom-looking, so he got the body of the Nissan blocked out and ready for paint. Since he'd learned about painting, too, he also took care of spraying the base color of the truck, clearing it, and getting it ready for a few shows in 2001.

After the 2001 show season, Shane realized that his truck wasn't getting as recognized as he'd hoped. Around this time, Shane took his truck back to Liberal, tore it all apart, and began to rebuild once again. He went back in and changed some of the body mods and perfected the truck in many ways. When the truck was again ready for paint, he took it to work (by now, Shane was a professional body man at a paint and body shop) to have the truck put in a booth and sprayed anew. As soon as the Nissan was dry, it was loaded onto a trailer and taken some 15 hours away from Liberal to Prescott, Arizona, where Charles Armstrong was awaiting its delivery.

The truck was gutted, and although it had the potential to be something interesting one day, it just looked plain. (This editor saw the Nissan a year before we actually shot it for this month's cover, before the graphics were laid down, and wondered what it would end up looking like). Over the course of the next few months, while the mad mountain man in Prescott wielding an Iwata airbrush was spraying the truck with a custom graphic scheme, Shane was working on getting the rest of the truck's parts put together back at home. He'd already built the majority of what would go into his interior to make it stand apart and was getting everything ready for when the truck came back from Arizona with a fresh new look.

Not soon enough for Shane, he got a call saying that his Nissan was ready to be picked up, and he rushed to Prescott to collect his ride. What he saw when he showed up nearly took his breath away. The truck had changed so much from how it had looked when he dropped it off, he couldn't wait to get back to Liberal and color-sand and buff the truck, letting the true gloss and depth of the new paintjob shine through. Likewise, his new interior and stereo system were all ready to be installed. Shane built all the parts and sent them down to Tulsa to be wrapped, just like the cut-down factory bucket seats. Once the truck was finally put back together, the engine was also reinstalled (it had been pulled and completely detailed).

The Nissan was put back into running condition in time for Showfest 2004, where we were supposed to see the truck in person for the first time. As luck would have it, we couldn't find it. Instead, we caught up with Shane and the Nissan at Texas Heat Wave, where it was decided that the Nissan was just way too nice to simply be a feature truck. That's when we all agreed that Shane needed to take a road trip to visit us for his cover shoot. The rest is history.

The Lowdown

Wheels/Tires 18x7-inch Budnik Scissor6 billet wheels with 215/35R18 Toyo Proxes radial tires

Suspension 'Bagged using Air Ride Technologies airbags / Belltech 2-inch drop spindles / HAL 12-way adjustable billet shocks / approximately 10 inches of drop from stock / electric air valves / two Firestone compressors / two 3-gallon Air Ride Technologies air tanks

Chassis Frame painted black from end to end for more cleanliness and show appeal / all air suspension parts from Air Ride Technologies / stainless-steel fuel lines by Keith Hill Engineering in Liberal, Kansas / polished hard lines for brake lines / relocated fuel tank

Body Modifications Shaved door handles / shaved tailgate handle / reversed tailgate handle / fuel filler inside of bed / shaved fuel door / molded steel Sir Michaels roll pan / shaved emblems / shaved windshield-wiper holes in cowl / shaved windshield squirters in hood / shaved antenna / shaved third brake light / 4x4 front fenders / recessed headlights / phantom billet grille / clear taillights / steel tailgate skin / all bodywork, color-sanding, and buffing by Shane Schaffer / Checkmate tonneau cover painted by Shane Schaffer

Paint/Graphics PPG Atlantic Blue was used for the basecoat / Xotic Colours were used for the graphics / basecoat by Shane Schaffer in Liberal, Kansas / multiflame graphics (38 skulls and skeletons in background) by Charles "the Kid" Armstrong in Prescott, Arizona

Engine/Performance Custom wheeltubs / relocated items where new wheeltubs were built / Chrome Masters in Nashville, Tennessee / underhood paint by Shane Schaffer / custom exhaust by Weaver's Alignment in Liberal, Kansas / Optima battery under hood

Interior Amazingly clean yet totally custom / repeated overall theme throughout / dash smoothed and painted in basecolor by Shane Schaffer / graphics by Charles "The Kid" Armstrong / cut-down stock bucket seats / doe-colored ultra-suede-upholstered bucket seats by CAR Upholstery's Chuck Rowland in Tulsa / most interior panels made from wood and fiberglass and wrapped in ultra-suede / billet inner door handles, billet dome light, billet pedals / Budnik Tusk II billet aluminum steering wheel

Stereo Panasonic DVD head unit / fiberglass subwoofer enclosure built by Shane Schaffer and upholstered by Chuck Rowland / highs and midrange speakers in doors and back wall of cab draw power from the head unit / two 10-inch Fosgate Power T1 subwoofers powered by a Fosgate Power 1000 amplifier

Shows Attended Showfest / Texas Heat Wave / Slamboree / Lowdown Showdown / trophies at every one

Special Thanks A heartfelt thanks to everyone (the list is lengthy) who helped Shane during the five years he's worked on his Nissan / most of all - his parents

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